Raimond Gaita (born 1946) is a German-born Australian philosopher and award-winning writer. He was, until 2011, Foundation Professor of Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University and Professor of Moral Philosophy at King's College London. He is currently Professorial Fellow in the Melbourne Law School and the Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne and Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy at King's College London. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
Born in Dortmund, Germany in 1946 to a Romanian father (Romulus Gaiţă) and a German mother (Christine Anna Dörr), he arrived in Australia in 1950 at the age of four. He attended St. Patrick's College, Ballarat (Victoria), Melbourne High School (Victoria), the University of Melbourne (BA Hons, MA) and the University of Leeds (PhD).
The story of his childhood and the lives of his family members and close friends is told in his award winning memoir Romulus, My Father, which was made into an award winning film starring Eric Bana (Romulus), Franka Potente (Christine), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Raimond) and Marton Csokas (Hora). In a later book, After Romulus, a collection of essays, “he reflects on the writing of the Romulus, My Father, the making of the film, his relationship to the desolate beauty of the central Victorian landscape, the philosophies that underpinned his father’s relationship to the world and, most movingly, the presence and absence of his mother and his unassuaged longing for her”. (from the Publisher)
He is married to Yael Gaita, who was born in Tel Aviv and was until 2008 a teacher at the King David School, Melbourne, where she taught Hebrew. Gaita has two children, Katerina and Eva and two step children, Dahlia and Michelle.
Because he believes that it is generally a good thing for philosophers to address an educated and hard-thinking lay audience as well as their colleagues, Gaita has contributed extensively to public discussion about reconciliation, collective responsibility, the role of moral considerations in politics, genocide and the alleged uniqueness of the Holocaust, education (the nature of teaching as a vocation, the role of love in learning) and about the plight of the universities. He has also been active in speaking and writing against people who advocate that in order to protect ourselves against terrorists we should legalise some forms of torture.
Awards and recognition
Romulus My Father won the Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-Fiction in the Victorian Premier's Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards for Contribution to Public Debate, the Braille Book of the Year, the National Biography Award. It was nominated by the New Statesman, London, as one of the best books of 1999 and, in 2000, by The Australian Financial Review as one of the ten best books of the decade. In 2007 it was made into an award winning feature film of the same name.
A Common Humanity: Thinking about Love and Truth and Justice was nominated by The Economist as one of the best books of 2000.
The Philosopher's Dog was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, 2003 and The Age Book of the Year, 2003. It was nominated by the Kansas City Star as one of the ten best books of 2005.
In 2009, the University of Antwerp awarded Gaita the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa “for his exceptional contribution to contemporary moral philosophy and for his singular contribution the role of the intellectual in today’s academic world". In 2011, Routledge published Christopher Cordner (ed.) Philosophy, Ethics, and a Common Humanity: Essays in Honour of Raimond Gaita. Also in 2011, Flinders University held a conference in Gaita's honour: A Sense for Humanity: The Ethical Thought of Raimond Gaita.
- After Romulus, Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2011.
- Singing For All He’s Worth: Essays in Honour of J. G. Rosenberg, Alex Skovron, Raimond Gaita and Alex Miller (eds.), Sydney: Picador, 2011.
- Essays on Muslims and Multiculturalism (ed.), Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2011.
- Gaza: Morality, Law and Politics (ed.), Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 2010.
- Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception, Revised edition, London & New York: Routledge 2004.
- Breach of Trust: Truth, Morality and Politics, Melbourne: Black Inc., 2004.
- Why the War Was Wrong (ed.), Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2003.
- The Philosopher's Dog, Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2002.
- A Common Humanity: Thinking about Love and Truth and Justice, Melbourne: Text Publishing, 1999; London & New York: Routledge, 2000.
- Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception, London: Macmillan, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991.
- Value and Understanding: Essays for Peter Winch (ed.), London & New York: Routledge 1990.
- Romulus, My Father, Melbourne: Text Publishing, 1998
- Other editions and translations of The Philosopher's Dog
- The Philosopher's Dog, London: Routledge, 2003.
- The Philosopher' Dog: Friendship with Animals, New York: Random House, 2003.
- De Hond Van De Filosoof, Amsterdam: Ambo/Anthos, 2003.
- Der Hund des Philosophen, Berlin: Rogner & Berhnard, 2003.
- 部分地区明天即可送达, Taipei: The Bookery, 2004.
- 部分地区明天即可送达, Beijing: People's Literature Publishing House, 2004.
- Filozofun Köpeği, Istanbul: Dost Kitabevi Yayınları, 2005.
- Tokyo, Shuei-Sha, 2005.
- Ha-Kelev shel ha-filosof, Jerusalem: The Attic, 2005.
- Il cane del filosofo, Genoa: Il Melangola, 2007.
- O Cão do Filósofo, Cruz Quebrada (Portugal): Casa das Letras, 2007.
- O Cão do Filósofo, São Paulo: Difel, 2011.
- Other editions and translations of Romulus My Father
- Romulus, My Father, London: Review, 2000.
- Romulus, Mi Padre, Barcelona: Ediciones Del Bronce, 2001.
- Romuls, Mein Vater, Salzburg and Hamburg, Salzburg and Vienna: Residenz Verlag, 2001
- Romulus, mijn vader, Amsterdam: Ambo, 2004.
- Avi, Romulus, Jerusalem: Carmel, 2008.
- Romulus, Mio Padre, Rome: Elliot Edizioni, 2011.
- Moj ojciec Romulus, Warsaw: Czarne 2013
- J. Franklin (2003), Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia, Macleay Press, ch. 16.
- YouTube videos
- Raimond Gaita - Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy at King's College London
- Professor Raimond Gaita interviewed on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
- Raimond Gaita interviewed about Torture on Philosophy Bites
- Gaita and Robert Connolly discuss Romulus, My Father (the film)
- Video: Raimond Gaita lecture on Plato